tv American Voices With Alicia Menendez MSNBC April 17, 2022 4:00pm-5:00pm PDT
650 prepaid card with a qualifying bundle. i am in for alicia menendez. this hour florida digs in on america's culture wars, state republicans creating a blueprint for a conservative crackdown on your right. where could that lead us as a nation? and also the ukrainian president invites president biden to see kyiv. is that realistic? what is the risk? could turning zelenskyy down be viewed as a win by putin? plus, we look at where we are with covid-19. if you are worried with the new variant, you are not alone. and what does elon musk want with twitter, anyway?
this is "american voices." we kick things off this hour in florida where there are new signs today's gop is not in sync with the changing america, as our countries makes strides accepting people of all backgrounds, republicans are want to go slam the brakes on that progress. last week desantis approved a 15-week ban on abortions and no exceptions for rape or incest. there's the so-called don't say gay law, limiting how teachers and students can express themselves in school. >> what we're experiencing now with this anti-gay movement is
beyond the pale. many of them have family members who are gay. we have come a long way. we are not going to give up. we're not going to give in to this insanity. we are going to fight and stand up and show the young people and the gay community that they are loved by so many of us, and we're going to do everything we can to protect them and work with them. >> in its war against progress gop lawmakers are taking issue of the house of the mouse, disney itself after it announced the don't say gay legislation, politico adding, quote, disney's move towards broader lgbtq friendliship is in lockstep with the american public. support for gay rights has been on a steep rise for the past
decade. let's bring in our panel. msnbc political analysts, a nation chairman for the serve america movement, and also with us, daily beast columnist who co host the democracy podcast and is the author of "go back to where you came from." and molly is here, a contributing writer at the atlantic. welcome, all y'all. and republicans seem to be fighting a culture war they are destined to lose. what do you make of the resistance on their end to progress? >> yeah, what we are witnessing right now is the death rattle of white supremacy that has become a death march. if you want to see the blueprint for how the gop wants to achieve the minority rule and as a minority rule for white christian men exclusively, then you have to look at florida.
specifically they don't care about democracy or rule of law or rights, they just care about winning and owning the libs. they want to violently hijack the country ask take the deloweren back to 1953. they want to stop the woke act that will aggressively punish schools and private companies who teach about diversity, equity and diversion. they slowly decide to push back against the don't say gay act, right, and you have book banning and voter suppression and the delusion of black voters, and it's all about intimidating school boards, teachers, corporations, anybody who is not lockstep with this radicalized vision of america they will get
brushed aside, and this is the blueprint for the gop going forward and desantis has raised over $100 million. it's successful and we should not discount this. >> florida conservatives have attacked gays for their own gain, starting with anita bryant. >> the anita bryant has rallied thousands of fundamental christians to her side for a strong homosexual counter attack. >> they are not only involved, but they are committed. they are not only going to -- not only been working very hard but they are going to come out and vote today. >> how much longer can this be used as a wedge issue by republicans, especially as public support grows for the lgbtq plus community? >> as long as our culture rewards it.
i would suggest that what you are seeing right now if florida and throughout other deep republican states is an orthodox view of conservatism that belongs more in the church house than the statehouse. the irony of this is governors like desantis run on the narrative of freedom, free florida is what governor desantis will try and run on to elevate him to the presidency, but florida is not free if homeowners can't afford insurance and renters cannot afford rent. if a teacher is threatened with a lawsuit or losing their job if they acknowledge their same-sex marriage, and a student mask humiliated by the governor on national tv, and voters in key west and sarasota counties vote for something by referendum for something the governor doesn't like, so he has an underpinning
in the christian white community. i think what they ultimately get wrong and a voice i tried to provide when i was a republican, celebrate that orthodoxy within your faith and let's recognize in government and in our culture, we also celebrate the diversity of everybody and we have a government that should be agnostic to one's personal faith convictions. >> roe has been the law of the land now for about 50 years, and polling shows 7 in 10 americans do not want the supreme court to overturn it. do you see the gop's war on reproductive freedom backfiring on the party? >> i think that's the hope for a lot of us. look, abortion is the canary in the coal mine.
this started in texas where abbott was able to really overturn roe in this bill, and the supreme court which is a very conservative 6-3 court, when they decided not to do anything, that was a pass to all these other red state houses to go nuts, and that's what we're seeing. i almost feel with desantis, you know, desantis is like largely governing for his 2024 run, and he's just trying to get his base excited and raise money and run for president. i almost feel like with this abortion ban, he's just trying to keep up at this point because all of these red states are getting these more and more restrictive abortion bans in place, and they believe, and i think it's probably true, in june before the supreme court goes on summer vacation, they will overturn roe or do something to where it no longer
exists, and they are taking away something that is popular and most people want women to continue to have, and they are doing it right in front of our eyes. they think the hope for a lot of us is this is gop over shooting and people will be mad and not want their rights taken away. >> we are also seeing attacks on how race and sexuality are discussed in classrooms. what are republicans so afraid of kids learning about? >> see, i think that this is just a play for the base. i mean, i don't think that ultimately -- i mean, maybe some of them believe this but a lot of them just see it as popular, right? not even largely popular, just popular with this trump base. trump showed the gop one thing, which was that you can get elected with a very small percentage of the country, right? and so he energized that base. i think a lot of these laws like
don't think it's so vague that you can't -- it's going to cause a lot of trouble because it's so vague. i think really this is kind of the show. i don't think ultimately most people are very for lgbtq plus rights. it's not even -- i think it's performtive trumpism. >> david, as he eyes a possible run for president in 2024, how does florida governor desantis push his party further to the right? >> well, i don't know that he's pushed it further to the right in so much as he has embraced how donald trump reshaped gop orthodoxy in donald trump's image, and ron desantis built a platform around it, and i don't think it's a right-leaning ideology if you restrict the education students have, and if you suggest students can only learn your view of the world and
not the broader view of the world, and i think we should reject that part of the right, and ron desantis has perfected trumpism in a way no other republican has, and if ron desantis should run in 2024, and this election should desantis decide to run, it's ron desantis and everybody else. i think it would be a coordination like you saw in the primary one where it was george b. bush running it through, and leading early, and the only thing that can stop desantis on the path to the white house is donald trump. >> next, ukraine's president wants president biden could visit kyiv. is that a realistic request? plus, new details about the
january 6th investigation and why the justice department is eyeing the rally that led to last year's attack, presenting a new challenge to prosecutors. first, richard lui with the other big stories we are tracking this hour on msnbc. >> very good evening to you. breaking news in pittsburgh where the search is on for suspects that opened fire at a party, and some 200 were in attendance after midnight at an airbnb. some were injured from jumping out windows to get away. the south carolina judge set a $25,000 bond for a suspect in connection to saturday's shooting at a mall in columbia. no fatalities, but at least 14 people were hurt. clashes erupted again today near the mosque in jerusalem. israel police say they stopped muslim worshippers from entering the holy site to secure the way
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the situation in mariupol is both dire militarily and heartbreaking. the city doesn't exist anymore. the remainings of the ukrainian army and large group of civilians are basically encircled by the russian forces and they continue their struggle, and seems the way russian military behaves in pol is they put the city in the ground at any cost. >> after the trip to ukraine, i did a trip to moscow. it was not a friendly
conversation, it was a frank and tough conversation. i told them what i saw. i saw the war crimes. i saw a massive loss of the russian army. >> if russians would not like to have the negotiations, so we will fight to the end, absolutely. we will not surrender or leave our country or our families or land. >> do you want president biden to come here? >> yes. >> are there any plans for him to come? >> i think he will. >> you think he will? >> i think he will. and -- it's his decision, of course, and i about the safety situation, it depends, but i think he's the leader of the united states and that's why he should come here to see. >> russia's on the brink of city of mariupol, and if that happens it's the kremlin's first full victory on its war in ukraine.
president zelenskyy is turning to the west for help and while president biden is unlikely to make a trip to ukraine himself, a high-ranking official is to be sent in his place. is that enough? joining me now, the former under secretary of state for public diplomacy and affairs, and previously served on president biden's transition team. also with us, msnbc contributor, david rohde. i want to stay with you. last week we heard to biden ukraine to russia's war as genocide. do you think the term was appropriate? >> i do. i think there's clearly war crimes happening and there's an effort to destroy ukraine as a nation. i think the critical thing here is weaponry, first. this week the president approved $200 million more on weapons,
and we sent tank missiles and javelins and those will run out in five days, and i think it's important to send far more weaponry. mariupol, as you say, will fall, but a massive battle on eastern ukraine on terrain that resembles kansas, very flat and massive amounts of russian tanks will be pushing forward in eastern ukraine around donbas if ukraine can prevent russia from gaining ground in eastern ukraine, that would be a major blow to putin. he is losing and he failed to take kyiv and he's putting everything he has in the tank battle coming in the weeks ahead, so president biden should be sending weapons, artillery, and any tank missiles and anything that will stop the tanks from rolling across eastern ukraine.
terminology, war crimes, calling it genocide is a step forward and what matters is weaponry. >> rick, the u.s. and its nato allies diplomatically co-existsed with russia until this point. how might this change foreign policy in the u.s. and in europe when it comes to russia? >> well, it's already changed foreign policy in regard to russia. russia is now a pariah nation in the west. it will be excluded from the g-20, and excluded from anything they were once upon a time included in. i want to go back to your previous question. i think we have to start figuring out better terminology, and even talking about a victory for russia in mariupol, it's an obscenity. and they created a desert and they called it a peace, and
that's what is happening in mariupol. it's something we have not seen in europe in 75 years, and practically never saw before. it is, indeed, as david said a war crime. it's a war crime going on in real time. just to round out from your original question, i mean, russia will be outside of the family of nations, certainly in the west for decades to come. >> david, putin continues to warn the west about providing weapons for ukraine. how seriously should western leaders take his warning? >> i think, you know, the united states with its nuclear weapons has to be careful about escalating and get into a conflict. putin wants to draw the united states into ukraine, but we should be providing the ground weapons ukrainians need, and the anti-tank weapons i talked about earlier. i covered wars in bosnia and afghanistan, and what happens is
what matters on the ground. the heroism of the 7,000 soldiers that are fighting to the death in mariupol is extraordinary. i want to repeat and i agree, it shouldn't be called a victory in mariupol, it's a desperate act and war crime and leveling of a city. putin is losing. he failed miserably to take kyiv, and we should take it seriously that they are committing horrible crimes, but we must give the ukrainians the weapons they need to finish their victory. it's astounding what they have done. i think they can hold off the russians in eastern ukraine if proper weaponry is sent. one last thought. it's time for germany to stop buying billions of dollars in natural gas from russia. that's another achilles' heel to
putin, and he needs that money and an embargo on the purchase of the russian gas will also help the ukrainians. >> there's a concern that putin may resort to using nuclear weapons. how likely is it that russia will resort to nuclear weapons? >> as you mentioned, the russians sent in diplomacy. we can help. you know, putin, you know, there's a thing we used to call
it a cold war escalation dominance, and putin is the master of it. when he is threatened he starts mentioning nuclear weapons and that puts the west back on its heels. i hope that he's not -- that he's saying enough not to use nuclear weapons, but he is increasingly cornered. his war effort is increasingly grinding in a direction that he doesn't want. that could be his last resort. that's not something we want in any shape or form. >> richard and david, thank you for joining us. next, the rally before the riot. the doj is setting its sights on the stop the steal event and those that organized it. and later, elon musk wants to buy twitter. why? r gives you a prescription. “let's get you on some antibiotics right away.”
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this is one of the situations where, you know, you start to help donald trump in his various ventures and pretty soon you end up in criminality. >> yeah. >> he'll throw you under the bus. >> as the justice department broadens its january 6th investigation, leaders of the stop the steal movement could face charges next. the doj wants to know where they helped incite the deadly violence that unfolded. the inquiry creates new and legal obstacles for prosecutors. joining us to discuss is jill banks, and she's co host of the #sistersinlaw podcast, and also with us, jennifer ruben, a
washington post columnist and also an msnbc political analysts. how do prosecutors here draw the line between free speech on the one hand and criminal conduct on the other in a case like this? >> i think in this case we have enough public evidence of what i would call clearly passing the line. you're right, it's important that we maintain free speech. it's important that people can speak out and say what they think. obviously what is being shown on your screen right now is violence and not what we would call speech, so entering the capitol wasn't. planning and funding the entry into the capitol wasn't. but there's also the crime of trying to interfere with the vote of americans. once that started, and that started long before january 6th,
it started, in fact, before the election. there was an effort under way to undermine the election, to overturn the will of the people, and that's a crime that has nothing to do with speech. that's action. so i think it's quite clear what the crimes are. one of my sisters in law wrote a prosecution memo that lays out those crimes in very clear terms. i am sure when the january 6th committee finishes its work it will issue a report and will have public hearings and all of america will see the evidence of crimes that have nothing to do with free speech. >> jennifer, a newly published text between mark meadows and lawmakers tell us more about trump's coup attempt. >> it's an up front look at how people behaved, one slightly better than the other.
representative roy says very early on, unless you have facts, until there's fraud we cannot attack the electoral system. that's where he draws the line. by the end of december, there's no evidence of fraud. all the cases have been thrown out, and he says we're not going to put a stake through democracy. so i think he behaved perhaps a little indull skwrupbtly. up through january, just days before the january 6th assault on the capitol he says he is still talking to lawmakers to send their alternate slate of delegates, so regardless of what the facts are and what the american people did, he wants something from the legislators
so he could overthrow the election. whether you are doing it through battering rams or other violent means, or arm twisting, persuasion lies, the misuse of your office. if you are trying to undo the election of the american president selected by the american people, you are engaged in a coup. whether that rises to a criminal action is something that the justice department is going to have to deal with. particularly whether trump can be charged. i think we are getting a look when we see mike lee's actions, that these people were very much aware of what they were doing and very much aware it was wrong. and mike lee said i didn't learn about any of this until january 2nd. since november 23rd, he had been working on the plot. i think we need to get some of these people under oath, including mike lee, and at what
point did these people know what they were doing was not to just enable people to elect the candidate of their choice, but they were interfering, overturning the will of the people. >> to that point, what kind of legal jeopardy could these messages put senator lee and roy in? >> all of their conduct, including the texts, put them in jeopardy. i think jennifer is completely correct, particularly with the withdrawal from the conspiracy where -- remember, both of them voted to confirm the election, because at some point they both accepted the reality and the facts that president biden or at that time vice president biden had won the election and he was entitled to the vote of the electoral college and to be inaugurated. they both did reject the ultimate thing, but they were pushing, particularly senator
lee for sidney powell, and then when she was not accepted as somebody who would take this fight forward, he encouraged eastman be the one to take it forward. so they were willing to go along with what we now know to be a totally evil plot to overturn it by doing this terrible thing with the electoral college. the fact that they didn't vote to overturn the election is a good point, but they had already committed crimes before that. >> jill and jennifer, thank you. next, the board of twitter is trying to keep elon musk from buying twitter not long after offering him a seat on the board. and then arguing the covid vibe
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twitter is fighting a hostile takeover. billionaire, elon musk wants to buy the social media giant and members of twitter's board who once offered musk a seat at the table are squaring off with musk now. >> tech billionaire, elon musk facing resistance tonight in his fight to rule the twitter verse. the social media giant now fending off musk's $43 billion bid with a business maneuver called the poison bill. >> they are strengthening their defenses against musk buying the company. >> if his shares grow to 15% or more, the poison bill kicks in and the company makes discounted stock available to others to
dilute their stake. >> they are forcing everybody that wants to buy the company to negotiate directly with them rather than buying twitter shares on the open market. >> the board wrote it will reduce the likelihood that any person, entity or group gains control of twitter. elon's hopes is to rollback the moderation policies. >> having a platform that is trusted and broadly inclusive is extremely important to the future of civilization. >> twitter says the board is still open to discussing the sale of the company as the world waits for the wealthiest man's next move. nbc news, new york. >> so what happens if elon musk grabs the reigns at twitter? would buying it make it his
playground. thank you so much for joining me. elon musk claims this is -- >> thank you for having me. >> thank you for being here. he claims it's about free speech but what do you think as his end game here? >> elon musk is not about free speech but speech without consequences. he uses twitter to do everything from harass and belittle people who are critical of him or tesla to commit securities fraud. what he wants is for the platform to be more hospitable to him and to people like him. he has called twitter, a quote, war zone, that shouldn't have any rules. he doesn't like the fact that his speech has power and it carries the weight of his office as a ceo and his money and all
of that intimidation that that can bring. even in regular life, elon musk does not think that free speech matters. he's always pushed back against any labeling of racist language. when there was a problem with racist harassment at his factories back in 2017, he basically told people just don't be jerks. if anybody apologizes for using racist language, just, you know, if they are sorry, accept it. fast-forward five years and now tesla is being sued for discriminatory behavior. the company basically has allowed racism to fester in the factories to the point where black people were rel gated to the corner known.
i don't think we need that vibe, i guess, at twitter, at all. >> fellow billionaire, mark cuban, says musk is messing with the s.e.c. could musk get in trouble with regulators? >> well, i mean, he doesn't really care if he gets in trouble with regulators. he's already paid $40 million in fines to the s.e.c. for using twitter to lie about taking his company public. he constantly violates the settlement for that issue. he doesn't really -- i mean, for him, all these fines and stuff are parking tickets because he's so wealthy. he doesn't really care. >> lynette, thank you. next, a look at where we are with covid across america, and we'll explain why our next guest
argues that the vibe has shifted, but first a preview of what else to expect tonight here on msnbc. >> tonight at 8:00 p.m. eastern, i will be joined by the new york viral hero when he called police when he spotted the alleged subway shooter. that's tonight at 8:00 p.m. here on msnbc. (fisher investments) nope. we use diversified strategies to position our client's portfolios for their long-term goals. (other money manager) but you still sell investments that generate high commissions for you, right? (fisher investments) no, we don't sell commission products. we're a fiduciary, obligated to act in our client's best interest. (other money manager) so when do you make more money, only when your clients make more money? (fisher investments) yep. we do better when our clients do better. at fisher investments, we're clearly different.
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we are in a much, much better place than we have been for the last two years, and certainly way better than where we were in january. that's really good. cases are ticking up and we will want to watch this carefully. it's being driven primarily by ba.2, the highly contagious variant of omicron. largely hospitalizations are flat and maybe inching up a little in a few places. we will have to pay close attention to this and see where it goes. >> two years into the pandemic
and it still feels like we can't get through the virus. the cases are going up because yet another new variant is with us. while we have the tools to fight covid, years of cdc now extendi mandates for travel by 15 days due to rising cases. that's our next guest writes, in it feels the vibe shifted to despair. you're not alone. but it won't always be this way. molly, thanks for joining us. in your article, you detail a joke you made as you left an event, telling a friend quote we probably didn't get covid in there. how does that reaction that kind of dark humor play into this changing vibe that you write about? >> i think we have all been through a really scary event. right? and it's been different sort of
nuances of scary and uncomfortable. and it's been now we're in year three. i think there was like at the beginning at least for me there was a feeling of real panic that we didn't know what it was or how it spread. we're leaving amazon boxes outside and we're worried we'll get it that way. it was really scary. and i knew people who died during that time. it was just sort of unreal. living in a movie. and then as it continued i saw we sort of understood that it was you could get it and it was if you wore a mask. we got into living in a pandemic. and now we're in this new stage where there's we're sort of told that we should behave like normal. even though almost a million americans have died.
and there's still more variants going around. >> it's hard to figure out the expectations these days. this morning i was i had breakfast at a diner in new york and i was the only customer in the crowded diner wearing a mask. and sometimes it almost felt like folks were looking at me like hey weird o, what are you doing. talk about the expectations. last year, your article you talk about that you are supposed to have a hot vax summer. instead we had a new variant that led to new lock downs and mandates. what about now? is this vibe the new normal? >> i think that it's not. i think that eventually these pandemics end and i actually talk about this story called the cameron about the bubonic plague in italy. they talk about the feeling after wards of feeling a little bit of survivors guilt.
a little bit of loss for all the people who have died. and a little bit of fear of others because that is how you got the virus in the first place. i think that it will change. i think that -- i certainly hope that we're coming out of it. we have a lot of vaccines and we have variants we have these vaccines that can adapt quickly. a pill for the virus. and we know how to stop the spread. so we really do have a lot of tools in our tool box. and i think this will always change and that's the way it is with pandemics and that's the way it is with history. it is very scary to live through history being made. and i think that we don't really spend enough time talking about how scary it is. and how hard that was for a lot of us. >> you end your piece on a positive note. that feelings of dread won't be around forever. how do we convince friends and loved ones that that's true?
>> it's a hard question. i think that time changes and i read about how i lived through 9/11 in new york. and how there was a time after that when we were all convinced that it would just be this was the rest of our life. it would always be 9/11 and a i tacks like that on the regular. and it didn't happen. i think there's a fair amount of kind of this anxiety that is residual after a pandemic. we're still in this the pandemic phase, i think there's a sense that we are -- that things are shifting. >> molly, thank you for making a little bit of time. in vatican city, a message of hope and a warning to the world from pope francis. this easter sunday. that's next. cis. this easter sunday that's next. liberty mutual customizes your car insurance so you only pay for whatchya... line? need.
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this easter sunday, a celebration of life in vatican city. pope francis holding mass in st. peerts square this morning. before tens of thousands. sharing a sermon of hope. not shying away from hard truths we face as global citizens. calling for peace in war torn ukraine. praising european nations welcoming in refugees. and made a point to acknowledge and encourage the same for those fleeing conflicts in other parts
of the world. it's a message that could do good here in the united states too. with the divided electorate and political movements aimed at rolling back rights for the most vulnerable among. such as the lgbtq community. targeting the transcommunity. making today and every day a good time to remember what the pope said in 2013. quote, if a person is gay and seeks god and goodwill, who am i to judge? those were trans, also deserve the same respect, understanding and rights as everyone else. francis ended this morning's mass calling for what all of us on earth deserve. peace. reminding us that peace is possible but also a duty. that is everyone's primary responsibility. because without it, moments like this morning might be no more. the pope warning, there's a true risk of nuclear war with the conflict in ukraine. a sobering reminder that the
path of peace begins by exercising the golden rule. do unto others as you would have them do unto you. to all to celebrate, happy easter. happy pass over. that's it for this sunday. and this weekend. more "american voices"s next weekend same time, same place. for now, i hand it over. hello. >> good to see you in the chair. happy easter to you. i'm a fan of this pope. i'm muslim. >> there you go. wise words from him today. >> happy easter. thanks for the ram dan. have a good weekend. good evening. why aren't democrats doing more to tackle the student loan crisis? especially as the president's poll numbers are in free fall. i'll have congressman jones. my exclusive conversation with